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Wilshire Subway Watch: Got $5 billion laying around?

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And this 'Subway to the Sea' is not just about funding at this point and time. Try planning studies, preliminary engineering, and environmental clearance according to Metro CEO Roger Snoble in the LA Times. But hey, all those steps take funding.

Villaraigosa's office over the last year has been quietly gauging whether the public would agree to foot the bill. In one of the many private polls it has commissioned on a variety of subjects, the mayor's office asked residents if they would support some type of tax increase to pay for the subway and other transit improvement. The results have not been released. But City Hall sources have said gaining the needed two-thirds majority for either a bond measure or a sales tax hike for the subway looks daunting.

[snip]

His aides say they are studying all possible scenarios. These include "benefit assessment districts" that would levy extra taxes on residents within half a mile of the subway line. Another idea is to find a private firm that could build and possibly operate the subway.

[snip]

In the end, local taxpayers will probably have to contribute heavily to the subway effort, as they do in most large mass transit projects being constructed around the country.

Art Guzzetti, vice president of policy for the American Public Transportation Assn., said the federal government rarely, if ever, pays 100% of big capital improvements, such as a new light-rail or subway line. Instead, the federal government usually chips in about half — and only after local agencies show they can provide the rest.

Read 'Subway to the Sea' plan still adrift by the LA Times.

Photo by The Bucky Hermit via Flickr